WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Junior guard Jessica Freeman matched her career high with 18 points and led four players in double figures to help UNCW outlast George Mason, 61-53, in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Sunday in Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks won for the 14th time in 15 tries against the Patriots to raise their record to 9-7 overall and 2-3 in the CAA. George Mason dropped its sixth consecutive contest, falling to 7-9 on the year and 1-4 in conference play.
Freeman, from Charlotte, N.C., added five rebounds and four steals for the Seahawks, who shot 50 percent from the field in the second half. Sophomore forward Abria Trice scored a career high 16 points, while sophomore point guard Alisha Andrews and junior forward Karneshia Garrett added 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Patriots were led by junior guard Amber Easter and sophomore forward Janaa Pickard, who both tallied 11 points. Senior Evelyn Lewis grabbed a game high nine rebounds for George Mason.
Senior guard Taleia Moton, the CAA's third leading scorer at 21.3 ppg, managed just nine points on 4-for-14 from the field.
With the score knotted at 39-all and nine minutes to go in the contest, back-to-back three pointers by Andrews and Freeman sparked an 8-1 run for the Seahawks. Ayoola Weaver's only bucket of the game at the 6:54 mark staked the Seahawks to a 47-40 advantage.
The Seahawks took advantage of seven turnovers by the Patriots the rest of the way to nail down the win. GMU finished with 20 turnovers, including 12 after the break, and scored 26 of its 53 points in the paint.
GMU did slice the deficit to five points on three occasions, but UNCW, behind Andrews and Freeman, turned back the rally in the final two minutes. Andrews scored four points and Freeman had three over the last 1:47 to give the Seahawks a win in the only meeting during the regular season between the two teams.
In the first half, George Mason jumped out to a quick eight-point lead, 10-2, when Easter knocked down a trey at the 17:07 mark, forcing UNCW's second-year coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke to call an early timeout.
But the Seahawks responded, chipping away at the Patriot advantage until a lay-in by Andrews on a fast break gave UNCW its first lead of the contest, 17-16, with 7:58 left in the stanza.
The teams battled back-and-forth for the rest of the frame, when a free throw by Trice with 17 seconds remaining gave the Seahawks a slim 26-25 advantage at intermission.
UNCW concludes its brief two-game homestand Thursday when it welcomes VCU to the Port City for a 7 p.m. contest. GMU returns to Fairfax to begin a three-game home stretch, beginning with a 2 p.m. matinee with William & Mary on Thursday.
UNCW outscored GMU from the bench, 28-6, for the contest, with all the markers
coming from Freeman and Garrett ... Both squads only played eight players in the close
contest ... The Seahawks made 12 steals, the fifth-straight time and the 13th
time this season the team has totaled double-figure steals ... UNCW totaled 12
assists, marking the 15th time this season the Seahawks have reached
double-figure helpers ... After shooting 41.7% for the game, UNCW improved to 7-1
this season, and 25-4 under Cooper-Dyke, when shooting over 40% ... The Seahawks were
16-of-26 from the line, shooting the third-most free throw attempts in a game
4 - Alisha Andrews
Andrews dished off five helpers to lead the team, marking the 11th time this
season and the 35th time in her career which she has led the team in assists ...
The Stone Mountain, Ga., native passed Tressa Reese for sole possession of fifth-place
on the career three-pointers made list with 98 when she nailed a trey at the 7:56
mark of the second half.
10- Abria Trice
Trice set a new career high with 16 points, eclipsing her previous record of 13
points against Xavier on Dec. 29 ... It marked the fifth time this season Trice
has scored in double figures.
13 - Jovana Mandic
Mandic made her first career start for the Seahawks in the contest.
24 - Jessica Freeman
Freeman tied a career high with 18 points, a mark she set earlier this season
against North Carolina A&T ... Her 18-point effort was the fifth time this season
and the 15th in her career that the Charlotte, N.C., native scored in double